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Article Released Wed-22nd-February-2006 04:32 GMT
Contact: Prof Murtedza Mohamed Institution: Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
 Two new species of tree frogs found in Borneo

The tree frogs of the genera Polypedates and Rhacophorus are new to science and were discovered by researchers on two mountains in Borneo (Gunung Murud and Gunung Gading) (Pictures attached)

Pictures were provided by Dr Indraneil Das, whose contact details are available to journalists from the link below

Title of paper 1: A new species of Polypedates (Anura:Rhacophoridae) from Gunung Murud, Sarawak (Northwestern Borneo)
Author: Dr Indraneil Das from the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, 94300, Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia

Title of paper 2: A new species of Rhacophorus (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from Gunung Gading, Sarawak
Authors: Indraneil Das, Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation, University Malaysia Sarawak, 94300, Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia and
Alexander Haas, Biozentrum Grindel und Zoologisches Museum, Universitat Hamburg, Martin-Luther-King-Platz 3, 20146 Hamburg, Germany

The new species of rhacophorid tree frog of the genus Polypedates was discovered at Gunung Murud, the highest mountain in the state of Sarawak, north-western Borneo. The species has been named Polypedates chlorophthalmus. It was compared with other known species from Borneo and other parts of south-east Asia. The new species has the following combination characteristics: It measures 62.1 mm from the tip of its nose to its vent (snout to vent length); snout rounded, not projecting beyond mandible; head slightly wider than long; bright green eyes, brown dorsum, with a thin dark gray line at back of forehead (full description is given in the paper)

The genus Polypedates is known to contain 16 nominal species, of which 10 occur in southeast Asia (see paper for references). The members of the genus are distributed from southern China, Sri Lanka and south-western and north-eastern India south to Indo-China and Indo-Malaya (Frost, 1985). Of these, four species have been reported from Borneo (Inger & Stuebing, 1997; Inger & Tan, 1996)

The herpetofauna of Gunung Murud, the highest mountain in Sarawak (2,423 m ASL) has been poorly sampled. The present day knowledge of the fauna derives from the collections made by the Swedish naturalist and adventurer, Eric Georg Mjőberg (1882 – 1938), Curator of the Sarawak Museum, in 1922. Mjőberg’s herpetological collections were published by Smith (1925) and Mjőberg (1925) himself described this expedition in detail, enumerating collection localities. Long term field work in Gunung Murud, Sarawak, was undertaken by researchers from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak since 2003, with the goal of inventorying the herpetological diversity of the mountain range, collecting a number of novelties in the process.

The other new species of rhacophorid tree frog of the genus Rhacophorus was discovered from Gunung Gading National Park, Sarawak, western Borneo. Like the Polypedates described above, Rhacophorus gadingensis was compared with other known species from Borneo and south-east Asia. This new species of Rhacophorus, did not match any of the described species of the genus from Borneo and from any other part of southeast Asia, and is therefore new to science.

The species is allocated to Rhacophorus for showing having the following characteristics: webbed fingers; disk-like tips of fingers, with circummarginal grooves; has vomerine teeth; and large eyes.

More specifically, the new species has the following characteristics: it measures 29.5 mm from the tip of its nose to its vent in the larger of the two specimens known; snout obtuse, slightly projecting beyond mandible; head wider than long; fingers and toes webbed and lacking nuptial pads (in males) (see paper for full description)

The genus Rhacophorus is known to contain over 60 nominal species of which at least 41 occur in south-east Asia alone (see paper for references). The members of the genus are distributed from southern China, Sri Lanka and south-western and north-eastern India south to Indo-China and Indo-Malaya (Frost, 1985). Of these, as many as 14 species have been reported from Borneo (Inger & Stuebing, 1997; Inger & Tan, 1996)

The herpetofauna of Gunung Gading, a granite massif in Sarawak, western Borneo was subject to the attention of the Italian nobleman, the Marquis Giacomo Doria of Genoa (1840-1913) and the botanist Odoardo Beccari (1843-1920), and in the 1860s, incidental to their botanical collections. Herpetological material collected during this expedition were described in a series of papers by the German zoologist, Wilhelm Carl Hartweg Peters (1815-1883) of the Zoologisches Museum Humbolt-Universitat, Berlin.

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Journal information

The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology

Funding information

Field work was supported by an Intensification of Research in Priority Areas Grant (number: 08-02-09-10007-EA0001) from the Federal Government of Malaysia. The University Malaysia Sarawak and the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak provided laboratory and other facilities. Volkswagen-Stiftung, Germany (grant I/79 405)

Keywords associated to this article: Polypedates, Polypedates chlorophthalmus, Rhacophoridae, systematics, new species, Borneo, tree frog, Rhacophorus, new species, Rhacophorus gadingensis, Borneo
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